Leo Tolstoy
· The Circle of Reading
Translated by Dmitry Fadeyev

January 20

Death and birth are two boundaries. Beyond these boundaries lies the same something.

1

When you spend some time thinking about what will happen to your soul after you die, you cannot but think about what was happening to your soul before you were born. If you are going somewhere, then you are probably departing from somewhere. So too in life. If you have entered this life, then it was from somewhere else. If you are going to live afterwards, then you had also lived before.

2

Where are we going after we die? The same place we came from. The place we came from did not have that which we call our “I”—and that is why we do not remember where we were, how long we were there, and what there was. If after we die we go to the same place we came from, then after we die there will also not be that which we call our “I.”

This is why it is impossible to fathom what our life will be like after we die. But we can probably say one thing, which is that since we were all right before we were born, we will also be all right after we die.

3

When a human being leads a good life, he is happy in the present and does not think about what will happen after his life ends. And even if he remembers death, then, looking at how good the current circumstances of his life are, he assumes that it will be just as good after he dies. It is much more calming and correct to think that God is good and has created and is creating everything that is best for us than to believe in all the bliss of paradise.

4

When we are born, our souls are placed in the coffin of our body. This coffin—our body—is gradually being destroyed, and our soul is becoming more and more free. When the body dies, the soul is wholly liberated.

— After Heraclitus


A human being need not guess what will happen after this life, instead he should try to act in this life according to the will of the One who had sent us, which we know in our minds and our hearts.

Themes

Sources